Sam Billings has said that the past six months have been "the worst of [his] cricketing career by a mile".
After a frustrating stint in the IPL, where he made a four-ball duck in his only game for Chennai Super Kings, Billings dislocated his shoulder in the first over of his Kent return after landing awkwardly while diving in the field, ruling him out for "three-to-five months".
The injury put an end to Billings' hopes of making England's World Cup squad. While he had not been named in the provisional 15-man squad and thus had only an outside chance of selection, Alex Hales' deselection opened up a spot for a reserve batsman, and Billings would have had the chance to impress in the warm-up ODI against Ireland and the T20I against Pakistan.
While Billings returned from injury towards the shorter end of the given timescale, he then captained Kent to four defeats and two abandonments in their final Vitality Blast games; after winning six of their first seven games of the group stage to top the group, victory in any of those fixtures would have taken them through to the knockouts.
"I'll be honest, it's been the worst six months of my cricketing career by a mile," he said. "It's not ideal at all really. You miss a home World Cup, come back halfway through a [T20] campaign, and obviously in a losing side as well.
"From my point of view, it's been a really tough six months. Such is life - it's a matter of actually being able to learn from this experience. As horrible as it is, I have to.
Billings suggested that Ben Stokes' comeback after missing the 2017-18 Ashes whitewash following his role in a fracas outside a Bristol nightclub could provide him with inspiration, and serve as a reminder that he can turn things around for himself.
"Look at Ben Stokes," Billings said, "and how a year, two years down the line, all of a sudden, his life has completely changed around. Why couldn't that happen for me, as long as I do everything I can?
"I pride myself on my work ethic, in terms of everything I do, and I leave no stone unturned. For me, it's a case of continuing to do that and giving myself the best chance. I can live with whatever happens as long as I do that."
Billings admitted that Kent's T20 campaign was hit badly by the loss of Mohammad Nabi and Adam Milne, the overseas players who missed their final three defeats - all of which saw Kent mess up run chases from strong positions - due to international commitments.
"The balance of the side - with Nabi and Milne, two huge misses, we were a batter and a bowler short - has changed drastically which has had a role in the results," he said.
"We haven't deserved to go through - the back end of the tournament we haven't played anywhere near our ability, or had the nerve at those key moments. Three times in a row is really tough to take if I'm honest. It's hugely draining and frustrating.
"Our fielding has been diabolical throughout the competition. The number of catches, and misfields - no-one means to do it, but when it's a collective thing… there has to be a common denominator if the same mistakes keep on happening.
"We've got a huge amount of talent as a squad, but you can't rely on that in professional sport. You learn the most about yourself and your team when things don't go right."